Hey Alex, nice to meet you and thanks for saying hey and for the information. I am living in Ottawa now, but I went to YoYoToronto Meetings when I was there from 2018-2020. They will hopefully be starting up again after we get the green light to have group meetings again.
I actually also went to the University of Guelph for 4 years (2006-2010) and completed a Ph.D. as well, in Environmental Biology, so I think we would have a lot to talk about LOL. I read your business idea of providing PCR primer and targeting design, I think that is a great idea and an emerging field and service that is and will be needed.
For example, I was surprised to find so little RT-PCR (Reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction) RNA sequencing used for identifying the presence of COVID-19 vs. antibody tests. I currently work for Stericycle, a hazardous and biohazardous waste company in Ontario, and the first COVID-19 test kits (as written on the MSDS) in March said they were antibody tests, but never really specified if the targeted antibodies were certainly released due to COVID exposure. You could obtain the sequence online from BlastX (https://blast.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Blast.cgi?LINK_LOC=blasthome&PAGE_TYPE=BlastSearch&PROGRAM=blastx), identify which antibody the human creates for it (I imagine), then create the test, then distribute them to hospitals. Did this all happen within one month? I’m not certain.
Getting PCR machines for DNA and RNA sequencing into the hands of hospitals and clinics would drastically improve accuracy of COVID tests, and would reduce economic consequences of shutting down areas with potentially high false positives. There is definitely an economic tradeoff model that would convince governments to purchase these machines, and distributing them is a big future market in my opinion.
I also did some DNA Barcoding work at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at U of Guelph, targeting rbcL and matK genes that are often unique across species and thereby used for species identification, and short to code (high accuracy for animals, less for plants). I worked a bit with Prof. Steven Newmaster at BIO, and Prof. Madhur Anand was my supervisor out of the Edmund Bovey Building. I focused more on effects of climate change (past 11,000 years) and clear-cut farming and land abandonment on forest ecology in Canada, Brazil, and across North and South America. I also like how you put your Research Gate as your link, great idea and very informative. Since you put your information out there, here is one work of mine (open-access) that I had actually shared previously on here if you’re interested to have a better understanding of what I work on, cheers: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0011543
Good idea saying hey and where you’re from and your info. And also did you know that André Boulay studied neurobiology?